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Japan's 'Floating Noodles' Are a Must-Try Summer Dining Experience

Japan Food + Drink
by Matador Creators Jan 17, 2023

When it comes to the idea of catching your own food, fish probably comes to mind. Noodles probably don’t. But during summertime in Japan, that’s exactly what some diners fish for when participating in a hands-on eating custom called nagashi somen.

@foodwtf Catch your #noodles at📍Hirobun Nagashi Somen in #Kyoto #Japan 🎥 @Empty Japan #kyotofoodguide #foodtravel #japanfoodie #foodtiktok ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

What is nagashi somen?

Nagashi somen is an interactive dining ritual that involves catching long strands of noodles as they float down a bamboo chute filled with cold water. Groups sit around the chute and take turns catching clusters of somen (thin wheat-based noodles that resemble vermicelli) with their chopsticks. The idea is that you can keep your noodles cold and prevent them from getting soggy by eating them bite by bite as you catch them from the chute. It’s a practice that takes place between May and October when the outside heat has a habit of stifling the appetite.

To accompany the noodles, the somen are typically served with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce called tsuyu that’s made from soy sauce, mirin, and dashi (a seafood-based stock). To make the dish even more interesting, small pieces of food such as eggs, shrimp, ginger root, and seaweed can be added to the tsuyu for extra flavor.

Where to try nagashi somen in Japan

Nagashi somen can be found at many restaurants throughout Japan during the summer. One popular place to try nagashi somen is Hirobun, a restaurant outside of Kyoto in the mountain town of Kibune. If you plan on visiting Hirobun for lunch one summer day, one piece of advice is to arrive around the time the restaurant opens to secure a time slot for your experience. Otherwise, you may have to wait in a long line just to make an in-person reservation.

Where: Japan, 〒601-1112 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Kuramakibunecho, 87−87

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